Aretha Franklin Says Taylor Hackford Will Direct Her Biopic, Wants Denzel Washington To Play Her Father

Aretha Franklin in The Blues Brothers
(Image credit: Universal)

Taylor Hackford is no stranger to musical biopics, having directed and produced the Academy Award winning Ray with Jamie Foxx, but according to the Queen of Soul he's getting back into the game. Aretha Franklin, who first started talking about a possible biopic early last year, says that Hackford has signed on to bring her life story to the big screen.

The legendary singer recently sat down to speak with Glamour and when asked about the in-development project she not only confirmed the director but also added some possible casting suggestions, the most notable being the idea of having Denzel Washington play her father, Baptist minister and activist C. L. Franklin. "He [Taylor] mentioned Denzel first, and I was thinking of Billy Dee [Williams]," Franklin said. "That’s who I was thinking of. And he mentioned Denzel, and I said 'Hmm...' And when I thought about Malcolm X, and what he did with that, I said, 'Yes! He could do it. He could handle it. If he put a little more weight on and glasses, he could handle it.'" She even specifically talked about the opening scene of the movie featuring the character, where he would be on the pulpit "speaking on '"The Eagle Stirs Her Nest.'"

As for who should play her, Franklin previous suggested Halle Berry for the part, but has added a few new names to the wishlist. Said Franklin, "We have Jennifer Hudson, we have Halle Berry, and Audra McDonald. That's the last three. I went to see Audra in Porgy and Bess, and I was very impressed with her dramatic ability. She was terrific." Regardless of who is cast in the various parts, however, Franklin says that above all she just wants the picture to tell the truth. "Accuracy," she said after being asked about her vision for project. "The facts. Let’s present the facts, and be as creative as possible with them."

Hackford most recently directed the action film Parker with Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, which will be in theaters January 25th. Franklin has signed a new deal with Clive Davis' J Records and is currently working on a new album.

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